78% of Consumers Plan to Spend the Same or Less for Summer Merchandise

Staff Report

Friday, March 31st, 2023

Most consumers (78%) plan to spend the same or less for summer items compared to 2022, according to a March survey of 400 consumers. The findings also reveal that less than a quarter of respondents (22%) will spend more than they did in the summer of 2022, 36% plan to spend less, and 42% will spend the same. Almost half of the respondents (47%) have less confidence in the economy for summer 2023 compared to 2022. One quarter has more confidence in the economy. 

For retailers, it means that getting consumers to spend more will be a struggle and that existing customers will hold the most promise. Online merchants should be wary of cherry-picking consumers and cherish loyal customers. The results are based on an Optimove survey of 400 consumers in March 2023. Optimove is a Customer-Led Marketing platform used by hundreds of leading global consumer brands. 

According to Pini Yakuel, CEO and founder of Optimove, "Retailers need to be aware of consumer preferences and behavior when it comes to shopping for summer items. While consumers are eager to purchase summer items early, trust is paramount in getting them to act. Retailers should also be mindful of marketing fatigue and tailor their communication methods accordingly. Additionally, understanding product category preferences is essential in determining whether consumers prefer to shop online, in-store, or both. Ultimately, retailers must act as advisors first and sales machines second, offering guidance to consumers to build trust and loyalty."

Other survey findings:
More than half of consumers plan to shop in May and June: While 56% of consumers plan to shop for summer items in May and June, consumers are ready to act on sales for summer items early. As almost seven in ten (68%) want to know about sales by April, respondents to our survey said they are willing to act and buy, as 51% said an early sale could "sometimes and often" motivate them to buy. 

Top items consumers want: The top items that respondents plan to buy are clothing (78%), swimwear (58%), home goods, and beauty products, each at (50%). The top motivators for consumer purchase are price 77% and quality 78%. A distant third is brand reputation at 28%. 

Consumers shop in-store and online and check prices: The product category (soft goods, hard goods, beauty/health, travel) predictably dictates preference trends for shopping online, in-store, or both. 

Consumers prefer to shop for hard goods like patio furniture and grills in-store – and on the other extreme is travel, where the predominant purchasing is online. Plus, seventy-nine percent (79%) of shoppers said that they check prices online when shopping in-store. It underscores that retailers need omnichannel capabilities.

Trust is a must. Trust is paramount in brands getting consumers to act, as 73% will unsubscribe if they think a brand misused their personal information. Trust is the cornerstone of loyalty. Respondents noted that trust is earned through word-of-mouth reputation by consumers reading online reviews or talking to friends. 

Email is the preferred communication channel: The top preference for consumer communication is email, cited by 52% of respondents. However, as online retailers push for summer purchases, they must be sensitive to each consumer's preferences. As we noted in our 2023 survey on Marketing Fatigue, two-thirds of consumers (66%) want fewer marketing messages, and 27% feel they get bombarded by marketing messages.